Radiolab from WNYC: Parasites
December 11, 2014 6:42 AM - Subscribe

Tales of lethargic farmers, zombie cockroaches, and even mind-controlled humans (kinda, maybe).

One of the most memorable RadioLabs. Hold on to your hats, it's a wild ride.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (2 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
That hookworm segment has stayed with me for years. My father has a triad of autoimmune diseases that, although they aren't life-threatening, take a toll on his energy and quality of life, and I've always wondered if he could get the same benefits as Jasper. Not enough to tell him to go out and get hookworm!
posted by gladly at 9:30 AM on December 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Parasites are so fascinating! I really enjoyed listening to this.

One thing the episode doesn't quite touch upon is classification. It talks about organisms which truly are parasites (like the wasps who take over the cockroaches; the wasps derive benefit from the relationship, and the roaches are harmed), but then it also talks about organisms where the relationship is mutually beneficial, or at least not detrimental to the host. These last two aren't a parasitic relationship. For example, the bacteria in our gut which do some nutrient processing for us aren't considered parasites because their effect is positive for the host, not negative.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:49 AM on December 12, 2014

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